Do I need to come in to the library to start/set up a book club for our group?


Perhaps the following tips will help:

How to Get a Book Group Started

The process can begin by simply asking

some people you know to help you organize

the first gathering. Address the following

questions early on to create a book group

that is well run, interesting, and rewarding.

Group Composition

What's the ideal size of the group?

If you need to recruit members, how will you

extend invitations?

What requirements do you have

for membership?

Reading Preferences

What types of books will you read?

Will you focus your reading to specific

topics or genres?

Selection Process

How will you choose which books to read?

How far ahead will you plan?

How will members obtain copies of books?

Meeting Logistics

Where will you meet?

How often?

Will you meet in the same location each

time, or rotate your meeting locations?

How long will meetings last?

Will refreshments be provided? By whom?

What time will be designated specifically

for socializing?

Facilitating Discussions

How will each discussion be lead?

Will you designate a leader?

Who is responsible for providing author

information and giving an introduction to

the group's discussion?

What ground rules should be established?

Can members who haven't read the

book attend?

Will guest speakers be invited?

Quick Tips for Book Discussion


Read the Book.

Write down important page numbers.

Have your questions ready.

Moderating a Meeting

Let Others Answer First

When you are asking questions, you want to

facilitate discussion, not come off as

a teacher.

By letting others in the book club answer

first, you will promote conversation and help

everyone feel like their opinions matter.

Sometimes people may need to think before

they answer. Part of being a good leader is

being comfortable with silence. Don't feel

like you have to jump in if no one answers

immediately. If needed, clarify, expand, or

rephrase the question.

Make Connections between Comments

If someone gives an answer to question 2

that connects well with question 5, don't feel

obligated to ask questions 3 and 4 before

moving to 5.

You are the leader and you can go in

whatever order you want. Even if you go in

order, try to find a link between an answer

and the next question.

By connecting people's comments to the

questions, you'll help build momentum in

the conversation.

Occasionally Direct Questions toward Quiet


You don't want to put anyone on the spot,

but you want everyone to know their

opinions are valued.

If you have a few talkative people who

always jump right in, directing a question to

a specific person may help draw out the

quieter people (and let the loud people

know it is time to give someone else a turn).

Rein in the Talkers

Book clubs are popular not only because

people like to read, but also because they

are great social outlets.

A little off topic conversation is fine, but you

also want to respect the fact that people

have read the book and expect to talk

about it.

As the facilitator, it is your job to recognize

tangents and bring the discussion back to

the book.

Don’t Feel You Have to Go Through All of

the Questions

The best questions sometimes lead to

intense conversations. That's a good thing!

The questions are there as a guide.

While you will want to get through at least

three or four questions, it will probably be

rare that you finish all ten.

Respect people's time by wrapping up the

discussion when the meeting time is over

rather than pushing on until you finish

everything you planned.

From How to Lead a Book Club Discussion

by Erin Collazo Miller, Guide

*If you want to order books from the library for your group, you would probably benefit from sitting down with your branch’s book group coordinator and working out the details of selecting titles, ordering, etc. 

  • Last Updated Jan 14, 2019
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